Almost 60% of B2B marketers reuse content two to five times, and most marketers understand that in order to create content that is both strategically valuable and successful, the answer lies in performing regular content audits. Now, whether you’ve completed an audit in the past or are jumping into an audit for the first time, we’ll break down 5 simple steps to conducting a content audit that helps restore and protect your content investments.
Step 1: Gather your content and put it all in one place
Dust off old and new content and dump all assets into a spreadsheet. If you’re just starting your content library, don’t worry about organizing it all at once — focus on conducting a light inventory of content assets that are currently in circulation and grab past assets stored on file. It may seem like an arduous task at first, but this inventory document will help you objectively and systematically evaluate your content to make key decisions about how to improve it and implement changes.
Goal: To get a clear picture of how much content you have and build a comprehensive content library that is organized, manageable, and accessible
Game plan: It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get armed with nothing but a spreadsheet and perseverance or you can outsource the work and enlist help from an agency. Chase down and collect the necessary file locations and URLs and start listing each piece of content by title. At a minimum, catalog your content using categories such as asset type, title, URL, target audience or persona, product/service, buyer journey stage, and by date and adjust categories to meet your marketing objectives.
Step 2: Set your auditing criteria and a scoring system
Next, quantify your audit findings. For example, some questions to ask when evaluating your content and setting auditing criteria are:
- How well does our content represent company messaging?
- What stage of the buyer’s journey does the content align to?
- Does each content piece map back to your buyers’ pain points?
- What persona does each asset align to and to what vertical or industry?
- Are there core product areas this content asset addresses best?
- What is the quality of the content? Is it engaging and does it entice prospects to take action?
- How easy is it to repurpose into other assets?
- Is it evergreen? Meaning does it have staying power or will it become quickly outdated?
Goal: To find content that doesn’t deliver on its promise and to gauge how relevant an asset is
Game plan: Keep criteria and scoring as simple as possible by using label codes or color codes that are easily identifiable when glancing over the content inventory spreadsheet. For example, use label codes such as keep, archive, and refresh or use color codes such as green, red, and yellow.
Step 3: Conduct the content audit and analyze results
Here’s where the work really happens. Armed with your criteria and scoring system, you and your team will audit a selection of content assets and become one step closer to protecting your investment in content. This step will give you a good idea of the state of your content.
Goal: To critically discuss audit results and outliers to draw conclusions and recommendations
Game plan: Remember your label codes and color codes. Cover a selection of content assets over a timeline that works best for your team’s size and marketing goals and take note of your findings to identify vulnerabilities based on content gaps and opportunities.
Step 4: Make a plan for your content that aligns with your demand generation goals
Here’s where progress happens — in this step, you’ll finalize your audit results and set a plan for what to do next. To organize your content planning, create a high-level to-do list that ranks selective content by priority and timeline. This is a perfect opportunity to archive assets that are no longer relevant and to repurpose content by turning a successful whitepaper into a blog series or a recent webinar into a podcast.
Goal: To create action items that your team can successfully execute, strengthening your content marketing efforts and strategy and making smarter decisions about growing your audience and revenue
Game plan: Drive your team to maintain better alignment between content marketing and demand generation. Aim to create a content plan for the next 6–12 months that supports high-impact demand generation campaigns. For example, identify roadblocks and opportunities throughout the customer lifecycle and buyer’s journey where conversion rates can be improved with more desirable content. How your company approaches a content plan will vary depending on business needs.
Step 5: Iterate and maintain
Quality content marketing is achieved through an ongoing process. Undertaking regular content audits ensures that your inventory is always up to date, providing transparent insight and inspiration for better content planning and driving your team to become more efficient in getting people to spend more time on your website.
Goal: To optimize your content process into easily repeatable campaigns that help drive traffic, clicks, and engagement.
Game plan: Commit to clean content processes by dissecting, organizing, adjusting content marketing efforts that are backed by data and stakeholder support. Staying agile allows your team to look for ways to pivot and create new opportunities that keep your company top-of-mind to customers and prospects.
Now, content may be king, but the road to content royalty isn’t easy. Conducting timely content audits is necessary for gaining insight into how your company can improve audience engagement, increase organic traffic and search results, create better content topics and customer experiences, and most importantly, understanding if your content is valuable enough at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Contact us if you’re interested in outsourcing your content audit or if you have any questions about your current content strategy — we’ve got the experts to help you do it all. And, be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook so you don’t miss out on additional strategies and insights.